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Hanningfield Water

Main Entrance

Giffords Lane, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 8HX

Visitor Centre

Hawkswood Road, Downham, Billericay, Essex, CM11 1WT


For latest visits and sightings information, goto Twitter or Facebook

important numbers of wildfowl that use the reservoir in the autumn and winter. Birds include Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Pochard. There are often thousands of Swifts, Swallows and Martins feeding over the water during peak fly hatches during the summer. There are also over 30 acres of the ancient woodland, with spring flowers such as Bluebells and Stitchwort carpeting of some woodland clearings.

There is much to read on the Internet of the facilities which are provided by both Hanningfield Reservoir and the Essex Wildlife Trust but the subject of the birds and water fowl which inhabit Hanningfield Water is not covered very well.

We hope to reverse this by providing you with a website which is entirely about this population.

We will cover the various Hides which are available the species which are seen and if you would like to join the relaxed band of watchers or just contribute your knowledge and experience, then please contact us by the various options in the Contact Us page.

Hanningfield Reservoir lies between South and West Hanningfield. It’s a man-made reservoir, which lies on what was Sandon Valley.

Much of the area around the reservoir has been developed as a nature reserve by Essex Wildlife Trust, and is home to many fresh water birds, with a wide variety of seasonal visitors. Several hides have been built on the shore of the reservoir to allow visitors to get an excellent view of the birds.

The reservoir is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the

Whilst you are enjoying your bird spotting, take your camera or smartphone with you and if you get the chance, take a photograph of what you see, particularly if you spot something unusual taking place.

Email the photograph to us and we will display it on this website. Details click HERE.


Click HERE to read the latest news and updatesRECOMMENDATIONS

These recommendations are taken from


 It was founded by Martin Roelofs, a birding enthusiast and hobbyist from the Netherlands that wants to share his knowledge and experience with other Bird Watchers.

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Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Large, white; orange and black bill

Canada Geese (Branta canadensis)

Large size, pale belly, dark neck and head with white face-patch

Teal (Anas crecca)

Male has chestnut and blue-green head pattern; female has green speculum

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Male has bottle-green head; female has large size, orange-yellow bill

Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Huge bill; male has white breast, green head, brown flanks

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

Male has black and white plumage; female has slight tuft on back of head.

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Small size, fluffy rear end

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps crisatus)

Prominent orange crest (in breeding season only)

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Large size; grey plumage

Coot (Fulica atra)

Black plumage; white bill

Moorhen (Gallinula chioropus)

Red and yellow  bill; white undertail

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago)

Short legs, long bill.

Birds & Wild Fowl you may see At Hanningfield Reservoir

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Dumpy shape, short bill.

The Young Birder's Backyard Guide

Everything the young birdwatcher might want to know, all the facts and species

 Link submitted by Jake Bishop